WTVM Editorial 2/24/17: Media responsibility

WTVM Editorial 2/24/17: Media responsibility

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - President Donald Trump has made a lot of news lately by criticizing the news media at large.

There's nothing new about a President of the United States criticizing the press. It's been true of every president since the founding of our country.

Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence, got his share of bad press.

But he also famously said, "Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."

President Teddy Roosevelt coined the term: "Muckrakers" during his administration to describe the investigative reporters he said were so obsessed with the negative, they were missing all the good things he was doing as President.

President Trump takes his criticism of the network news and cable news stations directly to the people, often using Twitter or large campaign-style rallies, to express his discontent about his view of how the media - in general - chooses to portray him. He calls the reporters who trail his every move the "dishonest media."

Journalism practiced fairly should be an honorable profession. But with so many points of view available on so many new outlets, especially on the internet, "fake news" is a reality. The lack of facts and context can be harmful. Reporters and consumers each have responsibilities in our democracy.

News consumers have to be smart and view a variety of news sources to gain a complete picture of events. Reputable media outlets should always be on the lookout for bias in reporting. They need to make sure they are being objective and thorough in their reporting.

Freedom of the Press is a cornerstone of our democracy. But that freedom also carries a big responsibility. The public has a right to expect the media to follow ethical standards of fairness and respect.

A free press should never be an enemy of America. A free press works for the people, and it should report the facts, strive to be fair and hold the powerful accountable when needed.


General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee
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Columbus, GA 31906

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